Greene & Greene Virtual Archives
John Bakewell Phillips House
Pasadena, California, 1906
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John Bakewell Phillips House
Pasadena, California

In terms of size of budget, a typical Greene & Greene client in 1906 was John Bakewell Phillips, who had $10,000 to spend on his house. Though generous by the standards of the day, from the Greene & Greene firm this sum would produce only a spirited variation on the Greenes' generic “California House” design of c. 1904-05. This was possibly because of the careful hand finishing that was usually required by Peter Hall, who acted as contractor. The casement windows in the Phillips house were the first to include a form of the Chinese "lift," an abstraction of clouds, in the horizontal mountains. This was an expensive detail that had previously been expressed only as a straight cross bar, though a suggestion of the lift had appeared in the Tichenor and Robinson doors. The stairways and halls of the three-level Phillips house form a centralized interior circulation core, thereby making the most of exterior-wall surface to let light into the upper-level chambers. In a detail characteristic of traditional chalet construction, the upper two levels of the Phillips house are cantilevered slightly over the lower level on the front elevation, similar to the Garfield house and Josephine van Rossem's second speculative house.